JW Anderson’s chain loafers are far from over
Last year an unexpected and opulent shoe became a certified hit among today’s more adventurous dressers. It was a classic looking leather clog… adorned with a giant gold chain, and it came from the mind of British designer JW Anderson. Not everyone was used to seeing such a bright, oversized bling on a clog, but the design clearly struck a chord. Everyone from iconic designer and impeccable dresser Marc Jacobs to very elegant writer and god of taste Jeremy O. Harris has donned a pair. (As pop star Dua Lipa did, further cementing the cross between menswear and womenswear.)
The allure and timing of this wild style shoe seemed to be in sync from the start. It was launched during the pandemic year, at a time when even fashion’s most eclectic dressers found themselves stuck at home in comfortable loungewear. The Chain Loafer was the rare high-end style item that offered comfort and eccentricity in spades – it was essentially a house shoe worthy of being stunted on the track. The duality was enough for many fashion heads to flock to the shoe. But could such a decadent and extravagant shoe really have a longevity beyond a year when everyone was bored? Apparently yes.
In an Instagram post this week, Anderson teased a few new iterations of the shoe, showing the style is not going anywhere. In fact, the Chain Loafer doesn’t just keep going, but it does get a lot of head-spinning upgrades.
For now, you can head over to Anderson’s site and grab the shoe in a jumble of colors and fabrications: yellow suede, for example, or monochrome gray or blue. These are not the simple black options launched last year.
But this, as they say, is not all. It looks like for Anderson’s Spring / Summer 2022 collection, the soon-to-be-debut one, the style will be showcased in a trio of new options. First, one version replaces the classic black leather with a much stronger shade of neon green slime. (The gold chain remains intact.) Another pair sees the bulbous chain produced in translucent acrylic plastic and paired with leather in a shade of orange melting on the screen.
Finally, and perhaps the sweetest iteration, the moccasin gets an all-white colourway (white leather shoe, white chain pattern), about as minimal as a shoe this lavish can get. In some ways, it seems bold enough to proclaim that such an eye-catching shoe will always find a feverish audience in a full calendar year. But on the other hand, the shoe remains very popular among a specific subset of the fashion circle. How could he not continue to fly off the shelves?
The shelf life of a loud, noisy shoe can be inconstant and often impossible to predict. Look at the Balenciaga Triple S. Once the crown jewel of extravagant men’s shoes, it had about a shoe-scorching year before it died out. (Oddly enough, this isn’t even the first time that a chain-themed shoe has become a hit among fashion enthusiasts with deep pockets. Sneakers will remember the Versace “Chain Reaction” sneaker designed by Salehe Bembury a few years ago.)
But where designer sneakers have for the most part simply swapped colors in an attempt at longevity, JW Anderson is reimagining what the future of the Chain Loafer looks like. Each of these new colourways looks like an entirely new shoe. The shoe seems a bit too over the top to have entered the canon of timeless moccasins, alongside Gucci’s iconic Horsebit Loafer or the cheaper but equally beloved Bass Weejun. Only time will tell if the market will be looking for $ 640 moccasins a year from now, but if the fashion’s adoption of the original gives any clues, these might not be going away anytime soon. .
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